When there are so many baby "essentials" to choose from, how can expectant parents determine what they really need? What should they put on their baby registry? And how can friends and family members know which baby gifts will truly be practical and appreciated?
To narrow down the innumerable options and make the shopping process less overwhelming, I’ve curated a list of 20 baby shower gifts, sorted by category, that are sure to be loved by any parent-to-be.
If you’re planning a baby shower, head over to this post next for some unique game ideas.
Baby Shower Gifts for the Baby
1. Magnetic Clothing
Available in a variety of colors and patterns, outfits by Magnetic Me can be worn around the clock, whether the little one is napping or doing tummy time. On both the onesies and two-piece sets, the enclosure is fully magnetic—no frustrating buttons or snaps to mess with during those middle-of-the-night diaper changes.
Many different brands make swaddle blankets in a variety of styles, but I adore the ones by Love to Dream. Unlike the traditional swaddle design, which keeps the baby’s arms down, the Love to Dream version allows their hands to be near their face. The larger sizes also have zip-off “wings” to help transition the baby from a swaddle to a sleep sack down the road.
Photo from WubbaNub
For pacifier-loving babies, the WubbaNub will be love at first sight. This stuffed-animal pacifier can calm our one-year-old better than any other product, hands down. Available in an assortment of cute animals, WubbaNubs are adorable and much bigger than traditional pacifiers, making them harder to lose.
4. Stay-Put Shoes
Although the baby won’t be walking any time soon, it’s still important to keep those tiny feet covered and protected when out and about. Brands like Robeez and Zutano create shoes that are specifically designed to stretch and accommodate any baby’s feet—and then stay on!
5. Baby Health Care Essentials Basket
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a parent, it’s that you should always have some medicine on hand. Gifting an assortment of health care necessities is a great way to make sure new parents are prepared for the inevitable.
Things like gas drops, saline spray, and a nasal aspirator/syringe (like the NoseFrida or this one by NeilMed) are certain to be needed at some point. For peace of mind in case of a fever, add a thermometer and infant Tylenol, and to make the basket complete, throw in Baby Vitamin D Drops, which the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends for breastfed babies, and some burp cloths.
Baby Shower Gifts for the Home
6. Wi-Fi Camera
Traditional baby monitors serve their purpose when the parents are at home, but using a small wi-fi camera as a monitor instead will allow parents to check on their little one if they’re not at home. Most cameras pair with apps that parents can install on various devices, so it’s easy to take a quick peek on any phone or tablet, whether at home or on the go.
7. Sound Machine
A quality white noise machine is a must for many new parents. Our family uses this adorable owl model made by Skip Hop. We love it because it’s a sound machine and nightlight wrapped into one, and the sound can run all night if you want it to, which we do! I’ve heard parents rave about the Dohm, which plays white noise at different speeds, and the Hatch, which also serves as a nightlight and can be controlled from a phone.
8. Portable Diaper Caddy
Setting up a changing station is a no-brainer, but many new parents may not realize the need for a portable diaper changing station as well (and maybe more than one diaper pail). A diaper caddy can be easily carried to any room and has space for diapers, wipes, diaper cream, hand sanitizer, and whatever else a parent might want to have handy. For storing wipes, I highly recommend the OXO wipes dispenser, which has a weighted plate, ensuring that only one wipe is pulled out at a time.
9. Baby Tub
During the first few weeks, a baby may only need sponge baths. But after that, a tub made specifically for infants can be a game-changer for bath time. This cute whale-shaped tub has a hook for easy storage and a drain, which makes it super convenient to place the bathtub on the counter while in use then empty it over the sink when finished. It also includes a removable mesh sling to provide cradling support for the baby until they can sit. Throw in a hooded towel in a matching color!
I recommend that all parents have a cool-mist humidifier on standby in case their baby gets congested. This model by Frida Baby doubles as a diffuser and can be used with any therapeutic-grade essential oils (provided they’re safe for the baby). Bonus: It comes with a lifetime warranty!
Baby Shower Gifts for On-the-Go
11. Backpack Diaper Bag
The last thing a parent needs while toting an infant around is a diaper bag that constantly slides off their shoulders. A backpack-style diaper bag is a practical, stylish, and often gender-neutral choice that frees up both arms (we love the ones from Itzy Ritzy). For some extra surprises inside, include wet bags for storing soiled clothes or cloth diapers while out of the house, a portable sound machine for those naps on the go, and a travel wipes dispenser. For more diaper bag essentials, read this blog post.
12. Baby Wrap/Carrier
New parents will adore keeping their precious baby close by while they move around. A soft, flexible wrap makes that possible and is especially helpful when the baby is little. For extra support, consider the Nola at Merci Milo; it’s a super-cozy but more structured carrier. Newborns often love nursing and falling asleep while snuggling up!
13. Travel Chair
A space-saving substitute for a traditional high chair is a hook-on chair that can attach to almost any table or counter for use at home, restaurants, or friends’ homes. Easy to wash and transport, these chairs are usually more sanitary than restaurant high chairs or booster seats. An unexpected bonus I’ve appreciated is that children can’t push themselves away from the table when secured in this type of seat.
14. Shopping Cart Hammock
Lugging an infant car seat into stores can be tough. A stretchy shopping cart hammock permits parents to carry only the baby in and put them in a safe, cozy place where they can have a full view of their caregiver while strolling through the aisles.
15. Stroller Fan
Perfect for rides in the car and stroller, a clip-on fan will keep the baby nice and cool in any situation. Foam blades and a flexible neck make it easy to safely direct airflow wherever desired.
Baby Shower Gifts for the Mom-to-be
16. Memory Book
Every new parent needs a place to record favorite moments. There are several great options for memory and baby books on the market; I especially adore the ones made by Mushybooks. Modern and neutral, these books highlight a child’s first year in a simple, visually appealing way.
17. Personalized Nursery Decor
Gifting an item that is personalized with the baby’s name can be a great way to express your thoughtfulness. Some personalized gift ideas are wooden blocks that spell out the baby’s name, a customized piggy bank, or a handcrafted growth chart. While new parents always appreciate receiving gifts from their registry, an unexpected gift like this can be a pleasant surprise.
18. Self-Care Kit
After labor and delivery, the new mom will need lots of extra care and attention, and a new-mom gift basket or tote bag full of practical items for her recovery or breastfeeding journey can be a nice way to show her a little extra love.
For her recovery, consider items like Dermoplast Spray, Rachel’s Remedy Down There Relief Packs, soothing lotions or balms, a nice water bottle, magazines, and maybe even some gourmet beverages for her to enjoy.
To help her prepare for breastfeeding, gift her some nursing essentials such as Organic Bamboo Nursing Pads, Certified Organic Nipple Balm, DHA, and a Haakaa—a silicone suction bottle that collects milk from the breast not in use while nursing, ensuring that every drop of liquid gold is saved for future bottle feedings.
19. Gift Cards
It can be difficult to complete household tasks like cooking and cleaning when you have a newborn to tend to. A gift card for a restaurant, meal delivery service, or cleaning service can be a lifesaver during those early months with a baby.
Another option sure to delight any new mom is a gift card to a spa or salon. She’ll cherish getting a few hours to herself for pampering purposes only. A gift card to their favorite store is great too!
20. Comfortable Postpartum Clothing
Most moms live in soft, stretchy clothing for the first few months post-delivery (and sometimes long after that). These Kindred Bravely favorites would be a hit at any shower:
- The adorable Bamboo Nursing & Maternity Tulip Hem Top (shown above) has a flattering cut and can be paired with shorts, jeans, or leggings.
- The Eleanora Bamboo Maternity & Nursing Lounge Dress is super soft and can be worn at any stage, pregnant or postpartum; it’s a practical piece for frequent nursing sessions that also doubles as a cute, casual dress!
- A classy, buttery-soft pair of PJs like the Davy Pajamas will ensure comfort and easy nursing access for those late-night breastfeeding sessions. Add in a pair of these cute, non-skid socks for head-to-toe coziness.
The Perfect Baby Shower Gift
Nobody likes having a stockpile of items that take up space but don’t get used. Instead of aimlessly perusing the myriad of baby-related items out there, go with something on this list for a sure victory. Additionally, your thoughtful gift will convey something more important than any material gift—your support. When it comes to parenting, encouragement and help from others are the most meaningful gifts of all.